Good morning. It is the week of the All-Star break in the NHL, and the expansion Vegas Golden Knights have the best record in the league. Just as we all predicted. The Islanders pay a trip to Vegas on Thursday night, both teams’ final games before the weekend off, to try to knock them off their perch.
Before that, though, the Islanders must play the Coyotes. And that’s tonight. The ‘Yotes had somewhat higher expectations this season than in the past few, having gone out and acquired Niklas Hjalmarsson and Derek Stepan this past summer, but fell flat on their face once again. Even future Islander Oliver Ekman-Larsson isn’t untouchable.
Leave your FIG picks here.
- The Islanders showed they can handle some adversity with their win over the Blackhawks. Also, Johnny Boychuk and Casey Cizikas skated, but are still unlikely for tonight. [Newsday]
- Anthony Beauvillier has been stellar since returning from his stint in Bridgeport, where he seems to have regained his confidence. Playing with Mathew Barzal and Jordan Eberle doesn’t hurt, either. [NHL.com]
- The Islanders remained at 19th overall in this week’s Power Rankings. [LHH]
- The Isles Road Blog acknowledges Ross Johnston, who found his way onto the scoresheet for the first time in his NHL career Saturday night, as well as Boychuk, Cizikas, and the lights briefly going out in Chicago. [Islanders]
- The Sound Tigers and Marlies played to a 0-0 tie that Bridgeport stole in the shootout. [Soundin’ Off | CT Post]
- The Railers are on a bit of a skid, dropping their fourth in a row and sixth of seven to the Wheeling Nailers. [Telegram]
Around the Ice
- Last night’s NHL scores. Vegas won, as noted, but they beat the Hurricanes, which is even better. And the Rangers lost.
- The Capitals have a four-point cushion, but only ten points separate all eight teams in this short week’s Weekly Metro Division Snapshot. [AATJ]
- Jim Johannson, a longtime USA Hockey exec and the current GM of the organization, who put together this year’s Olympic squad, died in his sleep at the age of 53 on the eve of the Pyeonchang Games. [Newsday - AP | ESPN]
- Carey Price reportedly suffered from chronic fatigue at the start of the season, possibly brought on by vitamin deficiencies. [Sportsnet]
- And finally, a scathing, blistering response from Bucky Gleason to Phil Housley’s assertion that the Sabres played some “pretty good hockey” despite losing 7-1 to the Stars on Saturday afternoon. He goes in on them for all their Pegula-flavored failures. Never in my life have I read such a brutal takedown of the city’s local team in its local paper. (Larry Brooks tries to do this and makes some okay points occasionally, but mostly just yells at the clouds.) [Buffalo News]